I am sorry. Let me explain.
I was riding home from Chicago a few weekends ago with a friend. It was around 10 pm. We drove on the highway, nearing the Illinois-Indiana border. The scene caught my eye. First, there were billboards advertising casinos lining the sides of the highway. Eventually, the signs transitioned into another type of advertisement. The signs read, “10$ LAP DANCES,” in bold letters. Half naked women flaunted what they could offer on the sign. And yes, my heart broke a thousand times over. I wanted to jump out of the car, take out a large can of spray paint, and paint on the sign, “SHE IS WORTH SO MUCH MORE.”
The next day, I was watching TV in my dorm lobby with some friends. A car commercial came on and it showed sensual actions between a man and woman. Honesty moment: I looked away to protect myself from thoughts that, as a Christian woman, I do not want to have. A car commercial was sexualized for the sake of advertisement. Because hundreds of thousands of people watched that advertisement, they were sent the message of seduction without even realizing it.
Last night, I watched the Bachelor for the first and last time. While we see it as mere entertainment, the message of “I need/want you physically because that’s what love looks like,” was sent to millions of viewers. Mr. Dreamy even referred to one of the women as a “sex panther.” Note: I felt degraded and unloved for these women.
Men, hear me when I say this: I am sorry.
I am sorry that we live in a world that teaches you how to degrade women. I am sorry that we live in a society that tells you to put those goggles on which allow you to see women for who they are as physical beings, and only that. I am sorry that you are consistently surrounded by media and messages that scream, “The only way to love her is if you love her body first.” That is a messed up, perverse way of thinking and I am sorry that you are being taught that so much through an electronic screen. I am sorry that at a young age, you were taught that women should be objectified. Fathers, sons, and brothers in Christ, I hate this sin for you.
I hate that we dress in a way that allows you to know our physical appearance before you know our character. I hate that every time you try to explain that leggings aren’t pants, you get called a pig and told to “control yourself.” I hate that culture tells you that you are not “man enough” if you do not view a woman as an object.
Please note, this does not justify your actions. “She was dressed scandalously,” or, “Because I was taught so young to view women like this,” does not make it okay. It does not justify sexual abuse or rape. It does not even justify sexual sin in general. I fully understand that the male sex drive looks vastly different from that of a female and that men are more instinctively drawn to the physical aspects rather than relational. Society today does little to help this because it feeds this physical drive to view a woman as an object. I am simply apologizing because my heart breaks knowing that you are being taught, “Look at her body,” rather than, “Look at her character.”
To the men who are fighting this battle- don’t stop. I have come into contact with multiple men on my college campus who openly admit to their struggle with lust and the battle they fight to see a woman for who she is on the inside, rather than what is on the outside. These men are followers of Jesus and still struggle. Nobody is exempt from the pull and temptation of sin, but as a woman and sister in Christ, I want to encourage you that you are also not exempt from fighting this battle simply because it seems too big to handle.
I cannot speak on behalf of all women, but I can speak for myself. So I will leave you with this.
I am sorry that we, as a female population, have failed to encourage you and stand on your behalf. I am sorry that we have failed to fight for your purity in the same way that the westernized Christian world has told you that you need to fight for ours. When God breathed life into this world, He made the decision that it was not good for man to be alone. He made man a helper, out of his own rib (Gen. 2:18-25). When God did this, He knew full well that man would be made better with a woman than without.
I am sorry that we, as women, have fallen short of being a helper in this area. Our title, “helper,” is not one we women can or should take lightly. In Hebrew, the word helper is translated to “ezer.” It is used twenty-one times in the Old Testament. It is not some light-hearted term used to describe the completion of an easy task. This word is used to describe a powerful type of help in the most vital of situations. As a woman and follower of Christ, our role as ezer is vital in helping man grow and becoming who God designed Him to be (Side note: expect to hear more about ezer in the future.) This crucial, powerful help that we have to offer might look like willingness to have the hard conversations about what this battle looks like. It might look like a deeper consciousness about what we wear. It might mean that we have a heightened awareness of our actions and language around men. It means that we are actively praying for not only the strength of men, but our own strength and that we would help in the best way possible in the most vital of times. It means fighting for men even when the world tries to say, “It’s not worth the fight.”
Men, I am sorry that we have not recognized the need to be ezer in this area of your lives. We have done a great job at being ignorant towards this area of life and failed miserably to help fight this uphill battle that is waging war against the minds and souls of men across the world. We make up excuses like, “I can wear what I want,” or, “If he is going to lust, he is going to do it either way,” or, “It is too awkward to talk about.” These may or may not be true, but it does not negate our responsibility to help men in the best way we possibly can. I understand full well that this issue is larger than a blog post. I am not unaware of the fact that some men, regardless of how a woman dresses or acts, will see her for her appearance rather than her character. I simply want to apologize first for our society which does not help men seek a woman’s character, rather fueling men to seek a woman’s body. Secondly, I apologize for the fact that we have fallen short in helping men fight this battle.
Men, my prayer is that in the midst of these struggles, women as a whole will begin to display ezer, and stand on your behalf. I pray that you will not fight this alone. I pray that you will seek healing and Jesus in the midst of it, and know that you are never too broken for Him. In the meantime, I personally want to help fight on your behalf. I am FOR YOU, and all the more important, GOD IS FOR YOU.
Rest in Grace,
A Sister Who Cares